Someone’s Suing Sony Because A PS4 Game Isn’t 1080p

Someone’s Suing Sony Because A PS4 Game Isn’t 1080p

Proving the theory that anyone will sue anyone for anything, a legal firm filed a class-action lawsuit for $US5 million against Sony yesterday because the multiplayer mode in PS4 game Killzone: Shadowfall doesn’t run at a “native” resolution of 1080p.

Yep, this is for real. The suit, which you can read below, alleges that Sony misled gamers with the newest Killzone by using technology to replicate high-resolution graphics instead of actually providing them.

To quote the suit:

2. According to Sony, Killzone was a graphically striking game set in a dystopian future that took full advantage of the PS4’s advanced processing power. Sony claimed that the PS4 was so powerful that its featured Killzone video game could display “1080p” multiplayer graphics, a crowning achievement in the video game industry.

3. However, after the game’s release, gamers quickly noticed and complained that Killzone’s multiplayer graphics were blurry to the point of distraction. The cause of this blurriness went unknown until a well-respected video game website reported that Killzone’s multiplayer did not actually provide “1080p” graphics as advertised.

4. Following this discovery, Sony released an official statement on the matter. In it, Sony admitted that it did not in fact design Killzone to display multiplayer graphics in 1080p, but instead used a technological shortcut that was supposed to provide “subjectively similar” results.

In March, Killzone developers Guerilla Games described how they used what they called “temporal reprojection” to make their game 1080p:

In both SP and MP, KILLZONE SHADOW FALL outputs a full, unscaled 1080p image at up to 60 FPS. Native is often used to indicate images that are not scaled; it is native by that definition.

In Multiplayer mode, however, we use a technique called “temporal reprojection,” which combines pixels and motion vectors from multiple lower-resolution frames to reconstruct a full 1080p image. If native means that every part of the pipeline is 1080p then this technique is not native.

Games often employ different resolutions in different parts of their rendering pipeline. Most games render particles and ambient occlusion at a lower resolution, while some games even do all lighting at a lower resolution. This is generally still called native 1080p. The technique used in KILLZONE SHADOW FALL goes further and reconstructs half of the pixels from past frames.

Edelson LLC has also filed class-action suits against Sega/Gearbox for Aliens: Colonial Marines, against Zynga for sharing data with advertisers, and against EA for breaking promises with Battlefield 3.

“Temporal reprojection is ‘not native’ 1080p,” alleges the suit. “Rather, and by Sony’s account, it is just another form of interpolation… Sony has not added any disclosure to the game’s packaging regarding temporal reprojection, does not mention 22temporal reprojection anywhere on the ShadowFall website, and has not altered the game’s consumer-facing technical specifications.”

The lawsuit argues that the box for Killzone is consequently misleading to customers:

Someone’s Suing Sony Because A PS4 Game Isn’t 1080p

This part’s pretty fun, too, describing the ordeal of plaintiff Douglas Ladore:

49. On or about May 3, 2014, Plaintiff Ladore purchased Killzone for $US49.99 from a local Best Buy.

50. Before deciding to purchase Killzone, Plaintiff visited several websites that contained the representations disseminated by Sony — i.e., that Killzone would provide native “1080p” multiplayer graphics.

51. Relying on those reports, Plaintiff chose to purchase the Killzone video game using Best Buy’s “free store pickup” service. Thus, Plaintiff reserved a copy of Killzone on Best Buy’s website and traveled to a local Best Buy store to complete his purchase.

52. Before completing his purchase, and while still at his local Best Buy retail store, Plaintiff examined the Killzone retail packaging and confirmed that Killzone would deliver an unrestricted 1080p graphics resolution. The relevant part of that packaging was identical to that shown in Figure 1 above. Relying on that on-box representation — which echoed the reports he had read online — Plaintiff completed his purchase and took his copy of Killzone home.

53. Plaintiff Ladore relied on Sony’s on-box representation that Killzone would deliver 1080p graphics resolution. Because Plaintiff owns a television capable of rendering a 1080p resolution, Plaintiff’s television was capable of rendering Killzone’s graphics (in both single and multiplayer modes) at a 1080p resolution.

54. After opening Killzone’s packaging (thus rendering the game un-returnable) and playing the game, Plaintiff realised that the game’s multiplayer graphics were not the “1080p” graphics that Sony advertised. Instead, Plaintiff noticed that Killzone’s multiplayer graphics were blurry and did not appear to be rendering at a native 1080p resolution.

55. Had Plaintiff known that Killzone’s multiplayer mode was not running at a graphics resolution of 1080p, he would have not have purchased Killzone at all, or would have paid substantially less for it.

We’ve reached out to Sony for comment and will update should they respond. You can read the full lawsuit here: (h/t Polygon)


    • No, this is good. Sony and Microsoft vet all games that get onto their “HD” consoles. They should all be HD games. Preferably all at 60FPS, but I guess that isn’t going to happen this generation (Again). 4K is just around the corner. Except for consoles where “4K Bluray”/”4K streaming” will be added. Your 4K tv is going to be useless unless you are watching movies. Or you could just get a PC. Most PCs will probably be able to run games in 4K within say 3-4 years.

  • If it says 1080p on the game packaging, and the console’s displaying 720p, that is false advertising, regardless of the legal bluster surrounding it, though.

    • Depends, if the main game itself is 1080p, then it’s not. The game is still running at 1080p and they’ve provided that. It’ll be interesting but it is pretty frivolous.

    • The MP game still outputs at 1080p. That argument can’t be used.

      It’s essentially them saying “yeah but the game says 1080p and it’s not natively rendered at 1080p”. Sony never mentioned native render resolution ever.

      • The developers did, it’s written right there in the article.

        In both SP and MP, KILLZONE SHADOW FALL outputs a full, unscaled 1080p image at up to 60 FPS. Native is often used to indicate images that are not scaled; it is native by that definition.

        This is plainly false. The game IS scaled in multiplayer.

        • I see. It’s a thin line there. But in any case, it still outputs unscaled 1080p in multiplayer. The box says 1080p. Where’s the grounds for suing?

        • Developers say all sorts of things during development, it was probably true when they wrote that, what matters is what is printed on the box and used in advertising.

          • Indeed or Peter Molyneux would’ve been sued a hundred times over for FABLE by now lol

          • Upscaled 1080p should not be advertised as 1080p, is my position. It’s deceptive.

          • Then almost every single X360 game need to brought to a lawsuit

            I’ve seen 1080p printed on the box of almost every X360 game I’ve seen on shelves in stores, and there is more than enough evidence to prove none of those games are 1080p

            This law suit is junk and thats the only way it should be seen

          • It’s a misused term that is intentionally deceptive, like when cable providers called their services ‘unlimited’ but in reality they had AUP limits. If X360 games need to be called out on it too, so be it. Upscaling is not real 1080p.

    • The output from the console with the method the devs are using in MP is still 1080p though. The end render is 1080 just not part of the rendering pipeline and that really does apply to all games. Hence why in a native 1080p game you get low res textures here and there that stick out. Not every asset is literally at the same resolution.

    • I agree with you completely. Last week i bitched about “next gen” no being 1080 and got my ear chewed off.

      @stickman 🙂

    • While $5mil is a little steep, I don’t like being mislead by developers, publishers AND console manufactures all in one go.

      It would have all been fine if they had been upfront with it. Or maybe lowered some effects in the MP instead of having to use a fancy ‘loophole’ upscaler. It probably would have helped performance more than lowering the res as well as being 1080p (not to mention that the upscaler they use is costly). It’s just the MP, it doesn’t have to have as many lod’s and high res shadows.

      Anyways, the point is they deliberately hid the resolution of the multiplayer so that they could market the ‘power’ of the ps4 with it. They used it to sell consoles and it’s not right.

    • If stuff like this is fair game, then MS should also be sued for false 1080p on back of Xbox 360 games. A lot of people think Xbox 360 games run at native 1080p because it says so in the box.

  • Scenario – America : Buy game, play for 3 months, conclude that game is not as advertised, GRAB PITCHFORKS AND TORCHES AND BLAME SONY THEN CONCOCT FRIVOLOUS LAWSUIT BECAUSE MURRICAH
    Scenario – Australia : Buy game, play for 3 days, conclude that game is not as advertised, return for full refund because you kept the receipt.

    I’ll concede that there is a very small window of legitimacy in the claim but my counter is “But the single player runs in 1080p”

  • The package does not say “native” hence why it is not in quotes by the law firm. Sony and the websites only ever claimed 1080p but not native meaning the output of the console is 1080p so technically it is not a lie.
    Either way SO WHAT! who cares. Sell the game used and move on. I hate America’s legal system.

    • What do you mean, ‘so what’? They’re selling upscaling as 1080p, which is misleading at best. If you went to a bar and ordered a schooner of beer and they gave you a schooner of half beer, half water, you’d be complaining too. If people just let this kind of thing slide, they’ll keep doing it because they can, and eventually it will become the norm. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want game advertising and publicity to claim an unqualified ‘1080p’ when it’s really an upscaled lower resolution. I don’t want that to become the norm.

      • My argument (and it’s broached in the Guerrilla Games release) would be that there’s certainly no common law understanding of a ‘native’ resolution is.

        The resolution on the back of the box is there as a marker so people know what kind of hardware they’re going to want to play the game. In this case it says 1080p because it displays best on a 1080p TV. It does output an image at 1080p, no doubt about it.

        ‘Native’ doesn’t mean shit. It’s a loosely defined common understanding that gets thrown around by gamers and programming types. It’s like arguing that a game said RPG on the box when most people would consider it to be an action game. It can easily be argued that native means whatever it displays at and that’s the end of the story. As the pointed out most games use different resolutions for different elements, it’s not going to be hard for them to prove that ‘native’ is a loose definition and that the game ultimately outputs a default image at 1080p.

        The dude suing needs to grow up and do something productive with his life. I hope someone dacks him and then pushes him in a puddle on his way out of court. It’s the kind of school-yard treatment that this sort of thing deserves.

        • Native has a pretty well defined meaning in gaming, despite the developer trying to cast doubt on it. A game’s native resolution is the resolution of the result of its main rendering pipeline before post-processing. Upscaling is a post-processing effect.

          • They said native in marketing material, and as I mentioned elsewhere, upscaled 1080p isn’t real 1080p, you can’t just put the term unqualified on the box and expect people to accept it.

  • Where’s the lawsuits for every single Xbox 360 and PS3 game saying they output at 720p and 1080p? The box logo was never indication of the native render resolution.

    • I think the difference is that on ps3/360 the developers would say it was upscaled. On Killzone they deliberately mislead people to believe that the game was 1080p AND that themultiplayer was not only 1080p but that after e3 they made it run at close to 60fps.

      Meanwhile it runs on average 45fps at a resolution more like 720p. Which was only confirmed after digital foundry did a piece months after release.

      It sucked because they used the Bs 1080p60fps Multiplayer marketing to sell consoles. I don’t recall them flaunting the SIngle player all that much in fact. And when asked why the game was blurry the official statement was something like ‘we are looking into it’ and something about it being DoF related.

      • In PS3, X360, X1 and PS4 games, it only says the same thing, 1080p. It doesn’t mention native or upscale on either of the platforms. I have meet a lot of gamers who think PS3 and X360 games are native 1080p because it says so on the back of the cover. So, going by this, it’s all fair. So StickMan is right.

  • Its a weird title to go after to push a truth in video game graphics. But some screenshots are so glammed up with impossible settings from the Developers and Post-rendered that it is still false advertising to show an image and make claims on graphics that are not possible.

    We seen that a lot in recent years, not usually in the final product advertising, but definately seen it during development and publicity tours with images claiming to be in-game engine but are no more than scripted faux-cut scenes or graphics settings later removed from the game due to technical limitations (like Watch Dogs E3 settings)

    and it is America, the country that bought us coffee lids with warning labels that boiling water is hot.

    • Firstly it was on the backs of hard working slaves then it was on the backs of hard working undocumented immigrants.

      • and that’s exactly why they should keep fighting to keep Johnny Foreigner out of their country XD

  • God it’s like one legal extreme to another, on one hand suing a company for false advertising because the game isn’t at the resolution you thought it was and then on the other hand we have the Dr. Oz and supplements fiasco where they’re allowed to advertise whatever the @#$! they want and congress thinks that’s fine?

  • a bit disappointing though for power house PS4 console still not producing native 1080P

    Might as well keep PS3

    • Resolution isn’t the only thing to consider. PS4 looks a shit load better than PS3. Effects etc. Are important too.

      Of course if power is important to you, get a PC.

      • No that’s not what I meant. PS4 is a new console with latest tech, surely they could make the games in 1080P which is standard now a days.

        if effects are one of the main thing for PS4, then they should consider the spec to cope with the standard resolution too. not downsizing it or make it look similar to 1080P or upscaling it.

  • I think the guy’s got a point. If you buy an item based on an advertised feature and it wasn’t clear that that feature didn’t apply sometimes, you’d be cheesed.

    It’d be like buying a car with a great set of speakers, only to find out that when a passenger sat in the car, the speakers got crackly and that it was by design, not a manufacturing flaw. Not the best analogy, but you get the idea.

    $5 million is a bit much to ask for, for something like this where no personal injury or other harm was done, but he’s got a point – The box said 1080p, Sony touted the graphics, one could easily believe that 1080p = good graphics, but that wasn’t the case.

    I think this would be a little less ridiculous if it was a class action suit instead of one man’s attempt to get rich (which is what it feels like) but he has got a leg to stand on.

      • the team had fibbed in the past by describing the game’s output as native 1080p with no upscaling.

        “Killzone: Shadow Fall’s single and multiplayer modes both run at 1080p. In both SP and MP, Killzone: Shadow Fall outputs a full, unscaled 1080p image at up to 60 FPS. Native is often used to indicate images that are not scaled; it is native by that definition,” the developer wrote.

      • Correct, but the idea of 1080p comes with a certain expectation. Just like many believe that a twenty megapixel camera is better than a 10 megapixel camera (which is not always the case due to sensor quality etc.).

        A person can go to a store and be told the benefits of 4K over 1080p and walk away believing that 4K is a standard, that in order for something to be labelled 4K, it has to meet certain quality requirements, like the Heart Foundation’s “tick”

        If that’s not spelled out to consumers, they can easily be mislead and feel pissed off like this guy did.

      • It’s a class action suit, no single person is getting $5m, that amount is divided among the class members.

        • Oh right. I had no idea that’s what that meant, thanks for helping me learn!

          Still, it’s pretty stupid IMO.

  • On the one hand, if they really did advertise falsely and the game isn’t actually running natively at 1080p like they claimed, Sony should be held accountable for misguiding the perceptions of the console market, considering how big a deal they’ve turned resolution into.
    On the other hand, this lawsuit is stupid because who gets that 5 million dollars, just this one guy? Just because a game wasn’t 1080p, yet otherwise playable? Talk about a blatant money grab.
    I mean sure, if there is a legitimate case here, by all means take 5mil off Sony as punishment. But why should this one guy get it all? Make Sony refund it to all the people who purchased the game instead.

    • It’s not one guy getting $5m, it’s a class action lawsuit. Any damages are distributed amongst the class members.

  • I own this on PS4 – its graphics are on par with Destinies – The game was stunningly beautiful (even though that’s all it was) the game outputs at 1080p even if it was upscaled from 720p (which its not – its MORE like some parts are upscaled from 900P to 1080P to improve framerate) – Talking about this is frustrating. I do hate some humans. – Game designers choose these options because for the amount of time they waste trying to fix something I cant see unless I pause the game squint my eyes and put my face 5cm from the screen – they could have made the game better.

    ~Way to go f*witt 🙂

  • This is the type of person who would finally play Bioshock, finish it and say, “what shit graphics”.

  • 55. Had Plaintiff known that Killzone’s multiplayer mode was not running at a graphics resolution of 1080p, he would have not have purchased Killzone at all, or would have paid substantially less for it.

    so now this loser wants $5mil for his pains. grow the hell up, guy, i’m sure they’d offer a refund if you asked but no, you got $$$ signs in your eyes.

  • Er… lawsuit should be for $49.95, surely, if anything. Where the hell does this guy get off claiming he’s been caused $4,999,950.05 in emotional damage and misc expenses? :\

    Families bereft of children due to the negligence of others don’t get this much!

    • Exactly they should kick this down to whatever level of court ‘Judge Judy’ is on!

  • It’s Killzone.

    Remember the PS3 trailer all those years back?
    That Killzone “gameplay” video that was shown at E3 2005 wouldn’t look out of place on the PS4 9 years later. Seriously, if someone was going to sue for something as stupid as this it should have been done when Killzone 2 came out.

    Doesn’t go close to justifying this kind of studidity though.

  • What a prat. He’s probably hoping to settle out of court. I hope Sony wins and he has to pay all legal fees, because this is just BS. Particularly since he never contacted their support division and made a complaint, which in my limited experience (2 cases) has almost always ended with the offer of a refund.

  • If frivolous stuff like this is fair game, then Peter Molyneux should have his own private antechamber in court houses just for the Fable series. Also, MS and Sony should be sued for all the false 1080p on the back of their games.

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